Daily fantasy baseball today has quite a few layers to it, not the least of which is weather concern for two games with pretty substantial ramifications.
The Oakland-Minnesota game and Chicago Cubs-St. Louis game both have rain concerns. Luckily they are both early games so we can check back a few minutes before opening pitch and make adjustments if necessary.
Another big concern is that because it’s a split slate — about half early/half late games — there are some relatively big names getting some time off. You’ll want to check the lineups before you walk away from the computer to binge watch Daredevil on Netflix. I use Rotowire’s MLB daily lineups page. It is a fantastic resource.
Alright, let’s get to the pitcher rankings. Like I said, there are a lot of layers here today, so we have extra pitchers.
Early games top pitchers
Mike Fiers, $8,600 — Batters have reached base on 41% of the balls they’ve put into play, compared to the league average of around 30%. His career BABIP is .299. Fiers has been pitching well despite getting unlucky. He’s at the top of my strikeout chart today too. He’s in both of my early lineups.
John Lackey, $7,700 — Lackey is also in both of my early lineups. He is the third-most likely pitcher to win, is fourth on my strikeout chart and gets to face the Cubs, who have struck out second-most in MLB.
Corey Kluber, $9,800 — Kluber has been a little unlucky this season. His projected BABIP this season was .315 which is slightly higher than average, but he’s at a .366 clip so far which means he’s better than he’s looked this season. He didn’t rank highly on a lot of charts mostly because the Royals don’t strike out, but Kluber should be a solid, safe play.
Edinson Volquez, $6,700 — This is almost purely an upside pick. Volquez has been pitching out of his mind, with an absurd 0.93 WHIP (his career mark is 1.44) and a .235 BABIP against. Also Cleveland doesn’t strike out much. BUT in 33 at-bats, about a game, Volquez has 13 strikeouts and 3 walks against the batters in the Indians lineup. It’s just one game, but it was enough for me to take notice
Jake Arrieta, $9,500 — I scratched Arrieta’s name off the list until I decided to do an early/late thing. The bottom line is that he’s super expensive. His strikeouts are likely to be nerfed by the Cardinals patience at the plate and he’s not favored to win. However, Arrieta was on two expected fantasy points lists and St. Louis is batting .183 against him in 109 at-bats.
Chris Archer, $9,400 — If I filled out an all-day lineup, I’d pair Archer and Fiers. Archer is the most likely to win, has been red hot and gets to face the ice cold Rangers. Sure, this train ain’t staying on the tracks forever — his .231 BABIP is unsustainable. However, Archer, in his career, has had a low BABIP against (.276).
Hector Santiago, $6,500 — I usually save the value plays for the end, but it’s the layers, man. Santiago gets to face the Astros and their league-leading strikeouts. He’s second on my strikeout chart today. There is some risk, sure, but we’re trying to win tournaments. That comes with the occupation.
A.J. Burnett, $8,600 — This is a little more than I’d like to pay for Burnett. He is second most likely to win today and scores well on those fantasy point charts I mentioned a bit ago. His WHIP/BABIP indicate some negative regression, but it’s unlikely to come against the Reds.
Nathan Eovaldi, $6,400 — Yep, another value play. Eovaldi’s WHIP is 1.55, but his career mark is 1.39. That’s not a great career number, but the difference indicates he’ll pitch better. He also has an unsustainable .380 BABIP, even though his career BABIP of .313 is a little higher than average. Baltimore is middle of the pack in strikeouts, but in their previous encounter Eovaldi had their number. This played out much like Volquez’s did. Eovaldi struck out 12 and walked two Orioles in 33 at-bats. And Baltimore hit just .242 in those ABs.
Colin McHugh, $8,100 — There’s a lot of upside here. Probably more than Burnett, but I’m a little leery about really pushing McHugh too hard. He scores highly on the fantasy points charts but doesn’t register on the strikeout chart either. But he does have an impressive 20-4 K:BB ratio in 68 career at-bats against the Angels. LA has also only hit .206 against him.
Hitters to stack
Tigers vs. Jose Quintana (CWS) — Quintana has not been able to tame many tigers in 144 career at-bats against them. He’s allowed a .340 average, a .932 OPS, six homers and 21 RBIs. The only drawback is that he has a good 23-6 K:BB ratio against them.
Padres or Diamondbacks — Las Vegas has the pitcher moneylines at a -105 coin flip. Odrisamer Despaigne vs. Rubby de la Rosa. Who knows what’s going to happen. The 9-run over/under is the highest on today’s slate.
Other hitters to consider
These are my top choices, appearing on multiple charts: 1B Victor Martinez, 1B/3B Miguel Cabrera, 1B Albert Pujols, C/OF Evan Gattis, 1B Prince Fielder, 1B Joey Votto, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, OF Justin Upton, OF Ryan Braun, 3B Adrian Belte, 2B Jose Altuve, 1B Jose Abreu, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, 1B/OF Brandon Moss, OF Carlos Gomez, OF Josh Reddick, 2B/SS Stephen Drew, OF Adam Jones
Players with great matchups who aren’t already listed: 3B Alex Rodriguez, 3B Mike Moustakas, OF Rajai Davis, Of Kole Calhoun, 1B/OF Mark Trumbo
Hot hitters with BABIPs that indicate they’ll stay hot or get hotter: 2B/3B Justin Turner, 2B Jason Kipnis, OF Shin Soo Choo, OF Ryan Braun, OF Mike Trout, Of Joc Pederson, 2B Joe Panik, 3B Manny Machado, C Alex Avila, OF Brett Gardner, 2B Brandon Phillips, SS Zack Cozart
Good luck today and every day.